This is the original electrocution story written by my wasband. It’s a little long. I would have written it in half the words but I wanted to put it here in it’s original text. I couldn’t help myself, I had to correct spelling and punctuation. I was going to interview him the way Wendy does with Buck but instead I found the story printed out and left on my desk.
By Barry B.
There are certain things that happen in one’s life that define who you are as a human being or in my case who I am as a man. I was asked the other day to relate a story that is the very essence to that end. It was truly a defining moment and one that I will never forget. Try as I can, I cannot forget!
It happened some thirty odd years ago on Cape Cod during one of those hot summers that family vacations are made of. I have always been a bird enthusiast or bird watcher, if you will, and loved feeding them on my back porch to see the different varieties and numbers I could attract to my feeders.
We were far from financially stable at the time with family additions looming in the future and the mortgage and car payments never far from my thoughts. As a result of this, bird seed was a luxury and not just a needed item on the shopping list each week. So comes to light my dilemma. Just as I would watch my beautiful and colored friends fly ever so elegantly onto the sun deck and begin to feast on the seed I had put out for them to enjoy, a little head would pop out from the edge of the deck and proceed to run to the feeder and classically begin to ruin my little feathered friends lunch and in the process begin to unravel my life as I knew it.
The four footed nemesis that had entered my peaceful world was a squirrel. To this day that name takes on a world of it’s own. It has become one of my least favorite words in the English language. I would watch this cute little furry character take over the food supply and no matter what I did I could not change his mind to find another source of his stomach filler. He just did not have any desire to share the food as I thought would be only fair and proper. I guess fair and proper were not in his vocabulary as my feeble attempts at shooing him off the deck were met with constant resistance.
It got to the point that I would open the back door, chase him off the deck and by the time I arrived back at the indoor window he had already crept back and was devouring more seeds.
Over the course of the next few weeks my aggravation turned into something else. Call it a hatred, a loathing, a curse to my very soul, whatever, I just wanted to see this little gray rat with a furry tail, that piece of limp-bacon, that freakin little turd hair ball rodent, hang like Saddam Hussein. He became my Roadrunner from Coyote’s perspective. My Tweety bird from the cats beneath. I wanted him in no uncertain terms out of the picture and out of my life. To my chagrin, I also noticed of late, an increasing number of his friends would show up to further make my life a living hell.
Something had to be done and done immediately or I knew my mental faculties could not live up to the pressure.
I would watch this little magician figure out every possible thing I threw at him to stop him from getting to his treasure. I put up aluminum foil around the feeder thinking it would scare him, ya right!! I put the feeders on a pole that he would climb like he was a fireman. I even hung the feeder on a wire only to watch him dance across the line with the greatest of ease to get to his prize.
I was frustrated and humbled and was looking for desperate measures to end this menace’s advances. The first thing I did was to buy a trap.
This was wildly successful as I caught the little varmints and transported them to the local park a few miles away only to find within days a new furry thief looking oddly familiar staring at me outside my window with an “attitude” about him.
I knew that I had to take this to a new level so I thought about my next move and what tactic I was going to employ.
After a few days, I came up with what I thought was the most brilliant thing I could think of. To those of you that know anything about electricity you can easily see major problems in my thinking as soon as I tell you what my plan consisted of. I am so bad when it comes to the electric side of things I make myself look foolish. One of my most memorable experiences with the invisible power friend we take for granted is the time my father- in- law and I were putting up sheetrock in an unfinished basement, when I banged in a nail using a metal handled hammer and hit the 220 line to the dryer in the next room straight on and when I came to on the other side of the room, all Stan could say was “WOW” and “I’ve never seen anyone fly across a room without his feet touching the ground and still live”. A touching reminder to my obvious lack of understanding the concept. The quarter sized exit wound on my foot probably should have given it away also.
But here I was, back at the point in my life that I was contemplating using electricity to make my life a better place. I would now attempt to use this magical power to make Rocky, the flying squirrel, truly a real life character.
My plan was to take a flat plate made of metal that I could use as a base for my device. I would then in turn take an old wire from a broken lamp and attach it by splicing it (though I didn’t know any cool terminology then, heh!) and attaching each end to the sides of the newly found muffin tin I located in the closet. I figured that I would put the tray outside, spread some seeds on the deck floor, and then take the end of the wire and plug it into the wall in the kitchen and like a flash the squirrel would be electrocuted like a murderer in the chair.
I was out of my mind with anticipation and the finality of the insanity. The next few minutes, however, are mostly a blur in my life. I remember the part when I watched the squirrel run across the deck up onto the picnic table and onto the tray. I remember looking at him and saying something to the effect of “see-ya in the promised land” and I ceremoniously put the plug into the wall unit. Vaguely the next minute or so is a sea of colored lights, a sensation of extreme body heat, a face to face meeting with my maker, a remembrance of my family and friends and some recollections of past vacations and even an old dog I used to know. I know now that I basically electrocuted myself, blew half the wall out of the kitchen in the process, nearly burned my house down, changed my entire mental makeup, and for what? As I picked myself off the floor, I noticed my hand was still smoking from the shock, my hair was standing on end and my right arm was at least 3 inches longer than it was two minutes before.
As I looked outside to see what other possible damage may have occurred, I saw a sight that may have been the single most painful thing I have ever witnessed. There before me was this stupid looking animal looking back at me with the biggest shit eatin grin I have ever seen in my life just casually eating sunflower seeds.
I knew at that point I would never be the same. I was defeated and would not challenge this foe again. He won. He got me. I was humbled and defeated thoroughly and felt like a total ass. Even to this day the memory of that fateful afternoon still haunts me. I am defined by my ignorance. I know that I still buy a weekly lottery ticket, still pick up pennies only if they are face up, still kick rocks as I walk. These are things that define who I am. Why only last week after a foot of snow I still found myself time after time running outside to pack a snowball together to throw at the neighborhood squirrels that still come to the same yard all these years later.
And you know if you could understand their chatter to one another you would hear. “Hey Al, isn’t that the same guy who Uncle Fred used to talk about that blew himself up trying to electrocute Great Great Granddaddy Waldo years ago?? What an asshole, he thinks he can still beat us at this game. Isn’t he ever going to give up?” How can I know after all these years.